Page images
PDF
EPUB

that really want it, as fit Obje&s; at proper Times and Seasons also for their Relief, without ex posing the Necessities of the Receivers. He confers his Benefits upon those that either highly deserve them at his Hands, or stand in great Need of them through Poverty, Affiction, or Unrighteousness; for the remarkable Merits of their Integrity, Learning, or some other excellent Qualifications of Mind. He diItributes his Favours and Courtesies among those that he thinks worthy of his Obliging, or honouring with his benign Conversation and Correspondence ; for their farther Benefit, Re. commendation, or Advancement to better Fortune in the World. He takes it for granted, that there is more Honour in Giving, than in Receiving; and yet, without stinting this extenfive Virtue only to the former Adt, still allowing, that a thankful Person obliged, may be juïtly deem'd liberal too in many Respects, as well as his kind Obliger or bountiful Benefactor. But where his Power fails; his good Will always makes amends for the Want of it, according to his best wishes. His generous Incention is a sufficient Obligation for the Deed : so sufficient of it self without Adion, that it requires no less Gratitude by the Difappointment or Inability. However yet, whatsoever he can do, is always heartily well done, with the quickest Dispatch, gaieft Grace, and most agreeable good Humour of Generosity. There are no To.morrows, no Put-offs in his expeditious Kindnesles. His Courtesy is as speedy as his Welcome, his Favour granted upon sight, and his Friendship often given without asking. The Donor meets the Recei. ver half-way ; so that a Man might reasopably

que. question, whether of the Two were more in Haste, the one to give, or the other to receive. This liberal Hero looks upon it as a selfish Life, not to study the Benefit and Ad. vantage of his Neighbour, as well as his own Grandeur. He believes Gentlemen of the greatest Estates, either real or personal, to be no more by right Reason, than God Almighty's Trustees ; for the Relief of needy People with their superfluous Substance. He knows, that all the old, musty, mouldy, or rusty Bags in a Miser's Coffers, are not comparable to the Splendid Shilling, for Want of Use and Circulation. What signify useless and unprofitable Riches, which are changing Masters every Day? 'And indeed they commonly fall at last into the Hands of Prodigals, as well as new Posessors. Giving of Money to the Poor, is only lending to the Lord, as the Scripture says; and honestly refunding it to the First Giver : Or perhaps to the right Owner again, that was formerly cheated on’t by some Injustice. But, in short, the Rich may well spare something out of their wealthy Hoards to comfort the Indigent, upon this sole Account and Encouragement ; that the Remainder will, in all Likelihood, thrive the better for it.

KINGS and Governours ought to be both charitable and liberal above all other Persons, being blest with the greatest Abilities; where. by they may not only procure to themselves, the universal Love and good Will of their People; but also inrich their Subjects, and glorify their Dominions. Such a noble minded generous Prince as this, will become the Darling of their Hearts and Affections ; the great Comforter of his native Country, and the chief Establisher of it in Peace, Plenty and Prospe

rity.

F4

rity. But, He that witholdeth Good from them, to whom it is due ; when it is in the Power of his Hand to do it, effe&ually without Procrastination: And, He, that being often reprov'd, hardneth his Neck, shall suddenly be destroy'd; and that without Remedy. For, when the Righteous are in Authority, the People rejoyce ; but when tbe Wicked beareth Rule, the People mourn, Prov. Chap. III. Ver. 27. Chap. XXIX. Ver. 1, 2. And well may they mourn e'er long, both in Sackcloth and Ashes through that Land; where publick Spirit, Faith, Credit, Interest and Trade, are all a-perishing; when common Ho. spitality seems to be declining apace, or cast quite out of Doors; good House-keeping disus’d, retrench'd or thrown almost out of Fafhion ; and either their Money remov'd, as it were, to another Market at a Distance, or their Riches transplanted to a different Quarter of the World. When a Nation happens to fall įnto such a fad, deplorable, or miserable Condition of State, then it will be high Time for the Inhabitants to go to Prayers immediately with good Reason, and beg that God would avert their impending Poverty, as well as other threatning Plagues.

BUT then it highly behoves a wise Prince, after all, to make a right. Use of his Liberalities; not to be too 'tenacious and covetous, nor prodigal in giving his Bounties; not to abuse 'em in unlawful Delights, nor lavish them in Favour of the Wicked and Unworthy ; not to bestow them upon Vanities or Unneces. faries, nor to deny them niggardly to the necessitous, indigent Objects of Charity in a County, Corporation or Kingdom. The Poor are principally intitled to his noble Liberality ; which

Wickedts, nor la vinhot to

. does

does not consist in wasting of his Wealth; but in succouring the Africted, Diseas'd, Distressed, Persecuted and Prisoners, with a gracious Willingness of Mind, for the general Good of the Common-Wealth. Not but that a poor Man himself may also be as liberal, or bountiful as a Prince, in some cases, according to his whole Power and Capacity. For the Widow's Mite was the greatest Gift in the World, all Cir. cumstances consider'd, in the Judgment of God. The vastest Presents of the Rich did not come up to her little All. Her Penury made it more acceptable than their Abundance. However, the Romans, by an inviolable Law, would not fuffer the Presumption in any Man, to make a publick Feast; unless he had first provided plentifully for all the Poor of his Parish. They accounted it the most shameful Scandal of their Common-Wealth, to see any Person a-begging in their Streets. Divine Plato charges that Town with having Thieves and Church. Rob. bers in it, where there were any Beggars. And can we wealthy Christians feast or banquet with any Satisfaction, upon hearing the pitiful Cries or Complaints of poor, mendicant, helpless, sick, starving Creatures at our Gates; at our very Doors ?

LET us rather imitate the great Epaminondas's Generosity; who finding out a Man that inrich'd himself by robbing the Government, and shew'd no Regard for the Poor; compel. led him immediately to pay an honest needy Fellow Six Hundred Crown's down upon the Nail. Cimon's famous Liberality will never be forgotten ; who made his House a Hospital to his poor Country. men, for their respective Nourishment, and the Relief of their several

Ne

Neceflities ; in Regard of their paft, excellent military Services. Alexander made himself almost an universal Monarch, or at least Maiter of Three Parts of the World, by the Nobleness of his Distribution of all his Demains among his beloved Macedonians. ; -beldes his other memorable Bounties. Lo the great Regard he had for Learning! Behold his Gra. titude of presenting Four Hundred and Eighty Thousand Crowns to his Tutor Aristotle ; as a small Reward for his incomparable Instructi. on, Knowledge and Virtue! Such a Pupil ; such a Præceptor ! To say no more. Instances would be innumerable and endless; among several of the Cafars, and Grecian as well as Roman Emperors: I had like to have said, our own too liberal STUARTS also; but Affliction stops my Mouth. However, I must not omit mentioning, as briefly as I can; for fear of injuring both Antiquity and History: The remarkable Memory of Archelaus, King of Macedonia ; who gave a Gold Cup that a Minion at Court begged of him, to Euripides ; with this severe Reprimand, that He was worthy to ask and be de. wy'd, but the other deserving Perfon' was worthy of the Gift without asking : Of Antigonus the older ; who was importunately desir'd by a good for nothing-Fellow, to give him a Drachm; why, says he judiciously enough, That is too small 4 Gift for a King ; and then the other asking him again for a Talent, he told the Simpleton, That was too great a One for ai Counterfeit, who only set up for a pretended Cynick: Of liberal Titus, in fine; who never' slept at Night, without practising this noble Virtue of giving and doing Good every Day, according to the

mo.

« PreviousContinue »